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Posted July 7, 2010

Top 10 Quarterback Busts

I think you have to be a complete moron to think Jamarcus Russell was honestly going to sign with a team even before his most recent arrest for allegedly possessing cocaine juice.

Russell never cared about the game of football once he got his fat paycheck from Al Davis. He was the consensus No. 1 quarterback in the 2007 NFL Draft, though some like Scott Wright from and I ranked Brady Quinn ahead of Russell; we knew Quinn actually cared about football. Russell’s career just goes to show that even the arrogant NFL brass make huge mistakes in player evaluation.

In the wake of Russell’s recent arrest, I’m going to rank the 10 biggest quarterback busts in the history of the NFL Draft.

10. Todd Marinovich: Think Tiger Woods gone bad except 12 years earlier. Todd’s father, Marv, wanted to create a superhuman quarterback. Everything Marinovich ate when he was a child was scrutinized, and he trained for hours and hours each day. To sum it all up, he was robbed of his childhood and acted out with drugs and alcohol once he got in the NFL. Drafted by the Raiders at No. 24 overall in 1991, he started eight games and was out of the league when he tested positive for weed one time too many.

9. Cade McNown: You know you are a bust when you get banned from the Playboy mansion, but my question is how did Cade McNown get invited to Hef’s pad in the first place? This just goes to show that as long as you play in the NFL, women don’t care if you are any good or not. “So, like did the Bears give you guaranteed money on your rookie or did you just get like a huge signing bonus?”

8. Jim Druckenmiller: Druckenmiller led the Virginia Tech Hokies to the Big East Championship in 1995 and 1996. Of course, all the former NFL coaches loved him because he was such a “winner” since they bragged about Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow leading up to the 2010 NFL Draft. Druckenmiller wasn’t a winner in the NFL because he sucked. All he did was chuck passes downfield with his eyes closed. I’m being serious. He had four interceptions in 52 passing attempts – that was his CAREER, but at least he won in college.

7. Art Schlichter: How can a quarterback named “Art” be successful in the NFL? Which one doesn’t belong: John, Peyton, Brett, Tom, Dan, Joe, Art. Schilcther was drafted No. 4 overall in 1982 by the Baltimore Colts and struggled with a gambling problem in the league. The Colts gave up on him after a 42-point loss to the Steelers in Week 1 of 1985 in which he completed 48 percent of his passes for a whopping 107 yards, zero touchdowns and two picks.

6. Akili Smith: We can throw the “Jeff Tedford” curse out the window as well with Aaron Rodgers success in the league. Smith was drafted third overall by Cincinnati in the 1999 NFL Draft and he was 2-9 in his 11 starts in his second season, throwing for 44 percent, three touchdowns, six picks and a 4.7 YPA. Of course, all the NFL scouting geniuses thought he was going to be awesome, but they aren’t as smart as you’d think. Smith only started 11 games in college, but hey, they are in the NFL and I’m not, so what the hell do I know about scouting quarterbacks?

5. Andre Ware: “OMG! Look at his amazing statz! He is a winnerz!” This was the cry of every war room in the NFL. Too bad they were all morons because they thought the run-and-shoot in college would translate to similar production in the NFL. Ware’s career was six starts, five touchdowns and eight interceptions. Way to go, NFL brass!

4. Heath Shuler: Shuler was drafted No. 3 overall in 1994. Now a politician, Shuler was Tim Tebow before Tebow performed miracles in Gainesville – you know, healing the sick and throwing jump passes to wide open tight ends. Shuler was a physical dual-threat at Tennessee and that obviously translated to the NFL. He was a career 49-percent passer with 15 touchdowns and 33 interceptions.

3. Dan McGwire: McGwire was taken at No. 16 overall by the Seahawks in 1991. McGwire was 6-8 with a cannon for an arm. He started five games in his career for two touchdowns and six picks. I’m willing to bet if Jose Canseco had injected anabolic steroids in McGwire’s butt, he could have thrown more interceptions.

2. Ryan Leaf: Ryan Leaf vs. Peyton Manning was just as legitimate a debate as Matt Stafford vs. Mark Sanchez. There were some who were adamant that Leaf would be a great quarterback in the NFL. NFL teams failed to do extensive background checks and evaluated him objectively because they were blinded by his physical tools and college stats. He’s the reason why quarterback prospects now are so ridiculously criticized in terms of their behavioral intangibles.

Leaf was a 48-percent passer for 14 touchdowns and 36 picks in 21 starts. He is noted for having serious social problems. He simply had issues. In the book Art of War, author Sun Tzu says, “All wars are won before they are ever fought.” The case was true with Leaf – his career was over the second Paul Tagliabue called his name.

1. JaMarcus Russell: I ranked Russell over Leaf because I think Leaf kind of cared about football. Russell put in just enough work at LSU to get his paycheck. He wowed NFL scouts with his arm strength and size. Physically, there is no doubt that he was the most talented NFL prospect ever. However, he showed up to the NFL Combine very overweight and simply never showed that he loved the game. Russell cares more about eating Original or Tropical skittles during his games than actually playing well in them.

Russell belongs at No. 1 because no player in the history of the NFL Draft taken in the first round cared less about the game than him. You can really see his high level of intelligence and impressive grammar in this video.

Of course, NFL coaches will always think they can chance a player’s work ethic or love for the game, so I don’t expect Russell to make any type of impact in player evaluation over the next few years. We certainly didn’t see it in the 2009 or 2010 NFL Drafts (Andre Smith, Trent Williams, Anthony Davis – all notoriously lazy players off the field in college).

Matt McGuire's Recent NFL Draft Blog Entries:

Analyzing Andrew Luck's Decision - 1/7
Luck vs. Locker - 9/15
Top 10 Quarterback Busts - 7/7
NBA Draft vs. NFL Draft - 6/27
Six Sophomores Who Need to Step Up - 6/2
Kentucky 2010 NBA Draft Prospect Blog - 6/1
Brett Favre Retirement Conditions - 5/30
2010 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year - 5/24
2010 NFL Power Rankings Tier - 5/21
2010 NFL Power Rankings - 5/18
NFL Mailbag: C.J. Spiller and Buffalo Bills Reaction - 5/14
LeBron James Game 6 Reaction - 5/14
The Buffalo Bills - 5/13
LeBron James: Celtic Pride - 5/13
The JaMarcus Russell Lesson - 5/11
Most Productive 2010 NFL Rookies - 5/6
Double Down - 4/30
2010 NFL Draft Observations and Telecast Blog - 4/26
2010 NFL Draft Grades: Day 3 - 4/25
2010 NFL Draft Grades: Rounds 1-3 - 4/24
2010 NFL Draft Grades: First Round - 4/23
2010 NFL Draft Trade Analysis - 4/23
Random Round 1 Thoughts and Analysis - 4/23
2010 NFL Draft Class Predictions - 4/22
2010 NFL Draft Trades - 4/21
Response to Mike Mayock's Redskins-Trent Williams Comment - 4/8
Teams Misevaluating Their Own Quarterbacks - 4/6
Where Will Jimmy Clausen Go? - 4/5
2010 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Picks - 3/25
Gerald McCoy's Draft Range - 3/12
NFL Draft Picks Are Business Investments (Anthony Davis) - 3/11
Offense Matters - 3/9
Mel Kiper vs. Todd McShay Debate Revisited - 3/8
Taylor Mays - 3/3
"He's a Winner" ... Not Really - 3/2
Quarterback Height (Jimmy Clausen) - 2/25
The Top Five Reasons the Redskins Won't Pass on Jimmy Clausen - 2/22
2010 NFL Draft: All-Overhyped and Underrated Teams - 2/18
Matt Ryan and the Rams - 2/17
Prospect Case Study: Tim Tebow - 2/11
2010 NFL Draft Offensive Grades - 1/20
Tim Tebow at the Senior Bowl - 1/14
Junior Quarterbacks/Jimmy Clausen - 12/29
2010 NFL Draft Prospect Updates - 12/21
The Michael Oher Lesson - 12/20
Cameron Heyward's Ceiling - 12/17
Jake Locker to Return for Senior Season - 12/15
Top Four Scenario - 12/8
"Suh" is Elite - 12/7
Carlos Dunlap Update - 11/11
Player to Watch - 10/30
Alpha Quarterback - 10/29
2010 NFL Draft Mailbag - 10/28
O Bradford, Where Art Thou (Draft Stock)? - 10/27
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Quarterback Mobility - 10/23
Charles Brown's Stock on the Rise - 10/18
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Mr. Overrated - 10/14
2010 NFL Draft Cursed? - 10/8
Conservative Carroll - 9/22
The Crabtree Lesson - 9/21
Scouting Notes: Weeks 2-3 - 9/20
Terrelle Pryor - NFL QB? - 9/15
Jay Cutler Trade Evaluation - 9/14
THE Choke State University - 9/13
2009 NFL Predictions - 9/10
2009 College Football Predictions - 9/3
The Brett Favre Line - 8/20
Why Vick Hasn't Signed - 8/12
The Vince Young Lesson - 8/10
Vegas NFL Power Rankings - 8/9
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Predicting Future Needs Part II - 8/4
NFL Draft Moved - 7/24
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